The Australian Swim Schools Association (ASSA) held its inaugural conference on the Gold Coast during SPLASH! week.
CEO Ross Gage says the conference was a resounding success and the feedback throughout the week was exceptional.
“A common sentiment was that the swim school industry finally having its own conference was a long time coming,” he says.
Industry stalwart Chris Dellit says he has been attending conferences for 35 years and this one was the best.
“It was great to see some ‘old’ industry friends like Pat Taylor and so glad to see finally that so many swim schools are teaching from the heart within a child-centred environment,” says Dellit.
Three overseas presenters headed the bill: Frank Sahlein and Erin Seal-Grande from the USA, and Canada’s Sharron Crowley. Seal-Grande – who was sponsored by SPLASH! – espoused world’s best practice in teaching people with disability.
The Australian Swim Schools Association received favourable feedback for holding the conference over one working week, covering the business side of swim schools as well as incorporating the teaching of babies and toddlers and inclusive swimming.
“Additionally, having access to the SPLASH! Pool & Spa Trade show was another huge bonus,” says Gage. “It allowed delegates to further network and look into potential pool equipment for their swim schools.”
Hall of Fame
During the conference, ASSA inducted the first Inductees into the Australian Swim Schools Hall of Fame at the ASSA Awards Dinner.
The initial inductions were in the Tier 2 level; the categories and recipients were:
* Pioneer; ‘trail-blazers’, laying the foundation for the industry: Bernie Shapland
* Science; people whose research has made a highly significant landmark in the industry: Professor Robyn Jorgensen
* Humanitarian; exemplary humanitarian services, generally over an extended period of time: Paul Sadler, Swimland
* Outstanding Contribution; outstanding contributions of international standard, generally over a long period of time: Julie Zancanaro.
Each inductee was presented with a “Steedman”, named in honour of Charles Steedman. Steedman published the world’s first book on swimming in Melbourne in 1865; and was a passionate advocate for learning to swim.
The top tier in the Australian Swim Schools Hall of Fame is known as the Legends. Legends have made exceptional contributions over many years. The first inductees were Forbes and Ursula Carlile. The other inductee at the Awards Dinner was Laurie Lawrence. The Legends received a “Forbes” – in memory of the remarkable Forbes Carlile MBE.
Libby Trickett OAM, John Konrads and Laurie Lawrence joined ASSA President David Urquhart in making the presentations.
The event was a resounding success, attended by more than 120 swim schools and supporters.
ASSA also helped organise the Swim Disability Conference as part of SPLASH!